The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust is pleased to announce that construction of our Sun Shelter at the Burgoyne Valley Community Farm is now complete and will be ready for the 2018 farming season.
The Sun Shelter is a 14ft x 24ft covered space, open on all sides. The wood was milled locally and built by an islander. The Shelter will provide relief for farmers and residents who tend their plots in the Shaw Family Community Gardens and Burgoyne Valley Community Farm. Further uses for the structure include education programs, gardeners’ meetings and dinners, and a great starting point for interpretive walks of the Farm. Two picnic tables will be added under the Shelter this spring.
“It’s a wonderful addition to the property, and we are most grateful to Kerry Lee for her generous donation,” says Farmland Trust President Patricia Reichert. Kerry made the donation in honour of her late husband, Garnet Lee. Garnet was a farmer who was actively involved in the Farmers’ Institute and on the board of the Farmland Trust. He passed away in April 2012.
“Nurturing community and giving back meant everything to Garnet, so I wanted to do something that would add value to our community, especially to the farming community which was so close to Garnet’s heart,” says his wife Kerry.
Garnet grew up in a poor farming family in Saskatchewan. When he was seven years old his mother passed away and his father was left to raise three children on his own. His father didn’t cope well with the loss of his wife. Neighbours and friends stepped in to help the struggling family, and Garnet was deeply impacted by this love and support. It was then that he learned the importance of giving back.
The installation of a plaque commemorating Garnet Lee and a celebratory event will happen later this summer.
We are honoured and excited that Adam Olsen MLA made a statement in the legislature about the importance of the SSI Farmland Trust. View his speech here!
Our fall began with two fundraisers involving the exuberant and charming Graham Kerr “Galloping Gourmet”. Graham was a guest at The Salt Spring Form at ArtSpring, and gave a great talk mixed with life’s anecdotes and the importance of locally based food and working together to achieve that goal.
The second was a sold-out dinner hosted by Graham at the Salt Spring Sailing Club with a three-course wine paired delicious meal, featuring Salt Spring lamb and vegetables. It was a truly a great evening. Grahams Kerr generously donated his book as a fundraiser at the ArtSpring Forum and dinner, which generated well over $1,000. Thanks to all the volunteers who made the dinner possible and a special thanks to the Sailing Club for sharing their dining room for this event.
These events were followed the next week with a well attended Open House by an enthusiastic crowd at the The Root site at 189 Beddis Rd. Dan Jason described the collaboration of the Farmland Trust and the Seed Sanctuary Society on a new seed bank now in operation and spoke of the importance of a stronger seed saving program for the community. Erinanne Harper explained the permaculture plan. Donald Gunn, architectural designer of the new facility, described the plan’s design and construction features.
In November, Lana Popham, the Minister of Agriculture and Adam Olsen our MLA paid our island a visit to congratulate us on the award of $100,000 grant from the province’s Rural Dividend Program. They toured the Farm Land Trust’s Burgoyne Valley Community Farm, and the Root site. The day was finished off with a ‘round table “discussion on farming issues. Thank you Lana Popham and Adam Olsen.
All these events and happenings were fueled by that underground resource called volunteers. Thank you all for your efforts this year in assisting us with our goals.
Seed storage at the ROOT’s seed bank, a place to optimally store seeds, is underway and seeds have already been placed in storage. This coming spring, Seed Sanctuary members will be able to choose varieties to grow out and multiply. Then they will return a proportion to bulk up reserves at the seed bank. There are currently over 40 different seeds at the site, many of them Salt Spring Island heirloom varieties. Staff and volunteers will teach people how to save seeds.
The Salt Spring Seed Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that has been working to maintain and enhance our seed heritage since 2002. In the past few years, many similar community seed initiatives have sprouted up across Canada. People are realizing that good food comes from good seed, and that it makes sense to ensure a diversity of both in case of long emergencies.
if you are interested in becoming a “seedperson,” contact Dan Jason, at 250-537-5269 or HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com